Sydney rock oyster, Saccostrea commercialis (Iredale & Roughley), filtration of shrimp farm effluent: the effects on water quality
Shrimp pond effluent water can contain higher concentrations of dissolved nutrients and suspended particulates than the influent water. Consequently, there are concerns about adverse environmental impacts on coastal waters caused by eutrophication and increased turbidity. One potential method of improving effluent water quality prior to discharge or recirculation is to use bivalves to filter the effluent. In this study, we examined the effects of the Sydney rock oyster, Saccostrea commercialis (Iredale & Roughley), on the water quality of shrimp pond effluent. Effluent from a shrimp farm stocked with Penaeus japonicus (Bate) was pumped directly into 34-L tanks stocked with different densities of oysters. Combinations of live and dead oysters were used to test the effects of three different densities of live oysters (24, 16 and 8 live oysters per tank). The concentrations of total suspended solids, the proportion of organic and inorganic matter, total nitrogen, total phosphorous, chlorophyll a and the total number of bacteria in the pond effluent water were determined before and after filtration by oysters. The oysters significantly reduced the concentration of all the parameters examined, with the highest oyster density having the greatest effect. Shrimp pond effluent contained a higher proportion of inorganic matter (72%) than organic matter (28%). The organic component appeared to be mainly detritus, with chlorophyll a comprising only a minor proportion. Filtration by the high density of oysters reduced the effluent total suspended solids to 49% of the initial level, the bacterial numbers to 58%, total nitrogen to 80% and total phosphorous to 67%. The combined effects of settlement and oyster filtration reduced the concentration of chlorophyll a to 8% of the initial effluent value.